North Koreans in breadbasket province malnourished

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (UPI) — North Koreans living in a province that is the center of the country’s agriculture are malnourished, sources say.

The residents of Hwanghae, the breadbasket province of North Korea, are relinquishing their rice supply to the army and the residents of Pyongyang, Daily NK reported Monday.

A North Korean residing in North Hwanghae said there is barely enough to eat and “just enough to carry on the lifeline.”

The dire situation is compelling some North Koreans to consider making an appeal to the government, the source said.

The report challenges claims the supply of rice in North Korea for the population increased after the creation of a new “incentive system” on June 28, under Kim Jong Un‘s orders.

“There is nothing left in Hwanghae after harvested rice all goes to the military,” the source said. “The people who harvest the rice cannot taste their own product and must go all the way to Yanggang province to buy rice.”

The source also said standards of living have declined in the past 10 years. Vagrants have increased in number, and if the situation is prolonged for another 1-2 years, people tell each other that they’ll “all be dead.”

The unofficial marketization in North Korea has not reaped benefits for the country’s farmers because they produce rice for the military and the residents of Pyongyang, the source said.

Farmers have also been unable to take advantage of grey markets because they lack sufficient capital, the source added.

Inequality of wealth between the urban and rural areas is increasing, according to the source.

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